Great article. Very informative!
Josh Bereano www.twitter.com/joshbereano
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I think I've reached the point where I need a family intervention. I can't stop attending webinars, reading blogs or clicking on tweets with tiny url's that laud Twitter as the holy grail of marketing. I'm simply fascinated.
But, let's face it. Twitter, or the generic term "micro-blogging," is NOT rocket science. But with the Twitter buzz reaching a fever pitch, you'd think the civilized world had discovered a secret formula to save the planet 140 characters at a time.
If you tweeted your way to this blog, you may have a problem too. Take this little quiz:
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you may need to join a recovery program. (Please Lord, let me find an app for THAT!)
Okay. So you're a twitterholic. Admitting it is your first step. But, should Twitter be the center of your small business's marketing universe? Unless you're Guy Kawaski, no. (Did you know that Guy hires ghost Twitter writers to tweet for him?) And what about all those other Web 2.0 shiny objects -- blogging, search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, Facebook, LinkedIn? They're all good. But traditional marketing tools and tactics are not dead. The internet, and it's various by-products did not kill them any more than radio killed newspapers, or television killed motion pictures.
But don't let the hypersonic speed of technology run over your strategic marketing building blocks. I like the way Duct Tape Marketing author John Jantsch defines marketing: "Getting people who have a specific need or problem to know, like, trust, do business with, and refer you to others who have this same need or problem."
To do that, depending on the nature of your business, Twitter can help. But you'll still need a high quality logo, product sheets, brochures, or maybe print or broadcast advertising. Develop and stick to a strategy with effective tools and tactics that help you accomplish your marketing goals. Understanding your audience and how they access information will be a key to success.
Twitter, along with other social media, can be one of those tactics, if you know how to use it. I think small businesses are slowly figuring that out these days. Restaurants are tweeting dinner specials. Chiropractors are tweeting about procedures to help relieve pain. Bars are tweeting about live band performances. Free marketing! Very cool. Be sure the information you tweet helps meet a need or solve a problem. Be interesting. Make sure your tweets build up your brand. Don't mix scary personal tweets (I got sooooo wasted last night) with business tweets. Not every tweet has to be promotional. I follow some Twitters who intersperse inspirational or humorous messages.
Like all marketing tactics, Twitter and other social media are not for everyone. It takes time and attention to do it right, and to be consistent. There's nothing worse than an abandoned blog or dormant Twitter account. It looks like you've locked up your store and gone on a holiday. Hire someone to help write for you if necessary. For local business, Twitter should not be a numbers game. It does not matter how many followers you have if they are not able to help you meet your marketing goals.
You don't HAVE to be everywhere on the Internet. Pick one or two social media approaches and stick with them. If they're not working, make some adjustments. But be sure they fit into an overall marketing mix that makes sense and generates business.
Oh, and stop worrying about that guy who follows you in New Zealand. He's probably wondering why the chick in India is following him.Post Script
If you're in Austin and have some thoughts to share about Twitter and social media marketing for small business, please come to my Biznik "Tear 'n Share" event on March 17 at Progress Coffee. RSVP here.
Learn more about the author, Rick L'Amie.
You're not the first person I've heard say I should be tweeting for my small business. So I set up a Twitter account, but now what do I do. I can Tweet and hopefully find out the formula for good content over time. Now, how in the world do people come to the point of wanting to follow me. I don't think I'm getting the whole picture yet.
Richard, It's kind of like leaving breadcrumbs on a trail at first. Some people won't notice them at first. But keep tweeting. People will find your breadcrumbs, and you, eventually. It's important for you to find and follow local twitters for your small business. Go to (www.search.twitter.com) and click on Advanced Search. Enter a search term relevant to your business, in your case, an industry that might need virtual services. Then set up search parameters in the Places section to find tweets within a reasonable distance from your location. You'll probably find some local people to follow. Look at who their following, or who's following them. Experiment with different search terms, and build up who you're following. You might even find a prospect!
Richard; thanks for the great article for fellow Twitterers (Twits?). I've been feeling overwhelmed by all of the options, and your words 'o wisdom really spoke to my settling down and focusing on a few key ones. Great job!